Keswick Town Centre (Victor Maschek /

A popular base with fell walkers thanks to its close proximity to some of the Lake District’s best loved fells, Keswick is a deceptively small town close to the shores of the spectacular Derwent Water.

With a resident population of just under 5,000 the town becomes a thriving hub of activity between April and September, with people attracted to its fabulous collection of shops, cafés, and festivals.

Top Keswick Hotels

Keswick is a favourite spot for holiday-goers given its bustling town centre and proximity to the gorgeous Derwent Water. As a result, there are plenty of great accommodation options in Keswick, ranging from luxury stays to home away from homes.


Keswick gained a market charter in the 13th century, and has maintained regular markets ever since. Originally considered an important area for mining, the town’s popularity as a tourist destination began in 18th century.

The town has a long history of providing inspiration to the UK’s artists and wordsmiths. Samuel Taylor Coleridge lived here, and the dramatic views of Skiddaw and Derwentwater have been featured in many paintings. In the 19th century, the town became synonymous with Derwent Pencils, once considered the highest quality pencils in the world.


You won’t find many of the standard British high street stores here, though there is a Fat Face, Boots, and White Stuff. Instead, Keswick has a fantastic collection of outdoor activity shops that can provide you with everything you need to explore the great outdoors.

There are a number of independent fashion boutiques, artisanal food producers, and gift shops. Friars, a confectioners, is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth, whilst the weekly Saturday market has some of Cumbria’s best loved brand available to sample.

Key Attractions

Boats on Derwentwater

Boats on Derwentwater

Keswick’s best attraction is its wonderful location on the shores of Derwentwater. From here you can hire a rowboat or take a cruise on a steamer. The town offers access to a number of popular fell walks including Latrigg, which is ideal for beginners, and Skiddaw, England’s fourth highest mountain.

For rainy days, there is the Pencil Museum, home to the largest colouring pencil in the world, and the Puzzling Place, filled with an intriguing number of interactive optical illusions. You can perfect your climbing skills at the indoor Keswick Climbing Wall, or enjoy a live show at the Theatre By The Lake.

Getting There

By Car – Leave the M6 at junction 40 and take the A66 towards Workington. Exit signs for Keswick are clearly signposted. If you are heading up from the south of the UK and fancy a scenic route you can exit the M6 at junction 36 and take the A590 and A591 through Windermere and Ambleside. This route takes you past beautiful lakes and through rugged valleys, but the road is a single carriageway for most of the distance and will add about an hour to your journey.

By Public Transport – Sadly, the railway is long gone from Keswick, but a regular bus route operates from Penrith Rail Station to the town centre.

By Foot – The Cumbrian Way passes alongside Keswick, making it an ideal stopover point for weary hikers travelling this national trail.